Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Bellevue Park Facilities Closed for Winter

The Village of Bellevue began the process of winterizing all park facilities and restrooms beginning October 1st.  Restrooms are closed for the winter and will be open again beginning May 1, 2019.  Closed facilities include Josten Park North and South Shelters, Willow Creek Shelter, DeBroux Shelter and the portable restroom at Manderly Way. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Cyber Security Awareness Month, Week 5: Lock Down Your Login

From Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection:

Cyber Security Awareness Month, Week 5: Lock Down Your Login

Monday, 10/29. Build better passwords, be better protected

Take steps to strengthen the security around your online accounts by creating longer, more complex passwords that are tougher to crack. Use a passphrase: a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters that spells out a phrase that you will remember.

For example, the phrase “I am happy to be here!” could be coded as “Iam:)2bH!”
Keep unique passwords for every online account and make sure to use an especially strong password for your email. Many websites send password update and account access emails to users, so getting a hold of these emails could potentially give a hacker access to all of your online accounts. Your email password should be the toughest to decode.

For more tips, check out DATCP’s “Creating Strong Passwords” fact sheet. #CyberAware

Tuesday, 10/30. Use two-factor authentication when available

Two-factor authentication is a security process in which you provide two means of identification in order to log into a system – something you have and something you know. Something you have is typically a physical token, such as a fob, fingerprint, or a code sent to your smartphone. Something you know is something memorized, such as a personal identification number (PIN) or a password.

If it sounds confusing, think about this: when you use your credit card at the gas pump, you already use two-factor authentication. You swipe your card (something you have) and enter your ZIP code (something you know). So if one of your favorite websites strengthens its security features and offers to send you an additional passcode for logging in, take them up on it. CyberAware#

Wednesday, 10/31. Your educational journey starts now

October may be coming to an end, but your cyber education is just beginning! There are a number of great resources available to help you strengthen the security around your web-enabled devices and online accounts.

Start with the DATCP website (datcp.wi.gov), particularly our consumer protection fact sheets, identity theft fact sheets, and Consumer Alerts. Remember to contact the Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7182; datcphotline@wi.gov) if you ever question a sales pitch or a threat you receive by email, text, or phone.

The National Cyber Security Alliance’s StaySafeOnline website (staysafeonline.org) offers a wealth of cyber tips for families and businesses alike.

The FTC’s Consumer Blog (consumer.ftc.gov) offers near-daily posts about scams that Americans are facing and actions the agency is taking against fraudsters. Keeping abreast of the latest scams will help you stay ahead of the con artists.

The FBI has developed a free computer literacy program called “Safe Online Surfing” or “SOS.” SOS is a series of online games for grades three through eight that help your child learn about important cyber security topics like passwords, downloading apps, screening friend requests and more. Check it out at sos.fbi.gov. #CyberAware

Dark Store Loophole

Image result for big box store and loophole

Tax attorneys for big box stores like Target, Walmart, Meijer, Menards, Home Depot, and Lowes, use what is dubbed the “dark store loophole” to argue that the value of a new store in a busy commercial district should be based on the value of former retail properties that are now closed and vacant. 

A real example (excerpted from fox6now): Over the past four years, stores like Target, Lowe's and Firestone have sued the City of Wauwatosa -- claiming their assessed values are too high -- using a tax strategy called "the dark store theory."  "It`s a store that`s dark. It`s a store that has no lights on," Rocca Vita, Pleasant Prairie assessor said.  Vita said stores want assessors, like himself, to value their businesses the same as a closed or dark store.  "Now all of a sudden, just for property tax purposes, we have to consider using sales of vacant or abandoned locations as evidence of value for good-thriving locations," Vita said.  A Target store in Pleasant Prairie was constructed in 2006 for $15 million. The Village of Pleasant Prairie assessed it at around $12 million, but Target officials claimed it's only worth $6.5 million.  "If municipalities begin lowering values because of this dark store strategy, there will be a shift in taxes," Vita said.  Pleasant Prairie officials estimate homeowners would see an increase of nearly $900 in annual property taxes.  In Wauwatosa, taxpayers would see a jump of nearly $400."People do need to be aware of this," Mayor Ehley said. Wauwatosa is currently facing 12 appeals from big box stores.  The fight has cost Wauwatosa $275,000 in legal fees each year for the past four years.(https://fox6now.com/2016/12/04/dark-store-theory-the-move-big-box-retailers-are-making-that-could-cost-you-big-bucks/)

In another example (excerpted from USA Today Network-Wisconsin):  Lowe's, Menards, Walgreens and Walmart have each filed lawsuits against local municipalities and the settlements have caused the city of Oshkosh to lose almost $306,000 in tax revenue. That loss reaches almost $491,000 when accounting for all local taxing entities, such as the school district and the county.  (https://www.thenorthwestern.com/story/news/local/oshkosh/2018/10/25/dark-stores-loophole-how-much-oshkosh-taxpayer-money-involved/1733316002/)

Police Calls to Big Box Stores: Big box retail stores demand more police service than any other commercial properties and much more than residential properties. Police are frequently called to respond to thefts and other issues at big box stores. As big box stores fight to reduce their property tax liability, they actually use more of the services property taxes pay for. 

The Village of Bellevue is currently in litigation related to the dark store tax theory.  

Vehicle registration - keep it local!

Many vehicles that are kept in the Village of Bellevue are registered in the City of Green Bay. This is because oftentimes vehicle registration automatically defaults by zipcode, and the Village shares zipcodes with Green Bay, DePere, Ledgeview, and other municipalities.
3 ways to update your vehicle registration to correctly reflect the municipality in which your vehicle is housed:
1. By phone: 608-264-7447
3. By mail: cross out incorrect information and replace with correct information.
Vehicle location information is used to:
*Collect county and/or municipal wheel taxes
*Collect local county sales and use tax
*Assist local, state and federal government agencies to study demographics and assess future public needs

Bellevue Trick or Treat Hours

Trick or Treating hours for the Village of Bellevue will be from  
4:00 - 7:00pm. on Wednesday, October 31.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Kayak Launch to Be Removed on November 1 For Winter Season

As the colder weather approaches, the Village has already begun the process of preparing our park facilities for winter.  The canoe/kayak launch at Manderly Way Trailhead will be removed for the winter on November 1st with the portable restroom closed as well.  Weather permitting, the launch and restroom will reopen on May 1, 2019.

2019 Community Center Rental Reservations Begin November 1

The Village of Bellevue will begin taking reservations for 2019 Community Center (1811 Allouez Avenue) season beginning on Thursday, November 1st.
The Community Center rates are as follows:
Reservations are accepted on a first come, first served basis at the Village Offices, located at 2828 Allouez Avenue, Monday through Friday 7:30am –4:30pm.

Community Center (1811 Allouez Avenue)
    $125 deposit
    $125 R / $160 NR—Full Day
    $93 R / $150  NR—Tax Exempt Rates
    (Rental between 8:00am and 10:00pm only, Saturdays and Sundays)
    (1-75 people)

Important Rental Information:

Any private citizen (resident or non-resident), non-profit group, private business or corporation, or governmental organization may request a reservation for the use of the Community Center.
The Community Center is available Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Leaves and other yard waste in streams destroys fish habitat.

In the fall and winter season, fallen leaves and other yard waste get blown into the streets and eventually end up in the storm drain system at the first rain event.
This significantly impacts the quality of the water, because unlike sanitary sewers, anything dumped into the storm drain system flows directly into the nearest lake, stream, creek or river without any treatment to remove contaminants.  Yard waste decaying in creeks and rivers decomposes in a process that removes oxygen from the water.  Fish and other aquatic life cannot survive in water with low oxygen.        
What can you do to minimize fallen leaves and other yard waste from polluting our waterways?
  • Do not dump fallen leaves and other yard waste into the inlets, storm drains or on creek banks. 
  • Clean up fallen leaves and other yard waste that reach the street to keep it out of the storm drain system.
  • Use a mulching mower or a mulching blade and leave grass clippings on the lawn as fertilizer. 
  • Use fallen leaves as winter or summer mulch or shred them and leave them on the lawn.
  • Compost your leaves, brush, grass clippings and other yard waste.
  • Do not dump grass or yard waste onto a creek bank or area where it will be washed into creeks and rivers. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

October is Fire Prevention Month - 10 Home Safety Tips

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that fires kill more than 4,000 Americans each year and approximately injure 20,000 more.  U.S. fire departments respond to nearly 2 million fires each year, with three-quarters of them occurring in residences.

A home is often referred to as a safe haven.  This month, make sure your home is protected from (and your family is prepared for) a fire.  Here are 10 simple tips to help you avoid fires and reduce the risk of injury should one occur:

1)      Smoke Alarms – These are still a very important addition to your home.  Smoke alarms are widely available and inexpensive.  Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it monthly.

2)      Prevent Electrical Fires – Don’t overload circuits or extension cords.  Cords and wires should never be placed  under rugs or in high traffic areas.  Avoid loose electrical connections by checking the fit of the plug in the wall outlet.  If the plug loosely fits, inspect the outlet right away.  A poor connection between the plug and the outlet can cause overheating and can start a fire in minutes.

3)      Keep Plugs Safe – Unplug all appliances when not in use.  Follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions and use your senses to spot any potential disasters.  If a plug is overheating, smells strange, shorts out or sparks – the appliance should be shut off immediately, then replaced or repaired.

4)      Alternate Heaters – Make sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit.  Anything that could catch fire should be at least three feet away.  Inspect your chimney annually and use fire screens to help keep any fires in the fireplace.

5)      Fire Safety Sprinklers – When combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers greatly increase your chance of surviving a fire.  Sprinklers are affordable and they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.

6)      Create An Escape Route – Create and practice your escape plan with your family from every room in the house.  Practice staying low to the floor and checking for hot doors using the back of your hand.  It’s just like a routine school fire drill – but in your home.

7)      Position Appliances Carefully – Try to keep TV sets, kitchen and other appliances away from windows with curtains.  If there is a wiring problem, curtains can spread a fire quickly.  Additionally, keeping your appliances away from water sources (like rain coming in from windows) can help prevent wiring damage which can lead to a fire.

8)      Clean Dryer Vents – Clothes dryers often start fires in residential areas.  Clean the lint filter every time you start a load of clothes to dry or after the drying cycle is complete.  Make sure your exhaust duct is made of metal tubing and not plastic or foil.  Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage & check for lint build up behind the dryer at least twice a year.

9)      Be Careful Around the Holidays – If you fill your home with lights during the holiday season, keep them away from anything that can easily catch fire.  Check all of your lights prior to stringing them up and dispose of anything with frayed or exposed wires.

10)   Conduct Regular Inspections – Check all of your electronic equipment and wiring at least once a month.  Taking a little time to do this each month can really pay off.
Following these simple tips could potentially save your life or the life of a loved one.  Pass this list on to your friends and family and make this fire prevention month count!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Ask your legislators to close the Dark Store Loophole!

Dark Store Loopholes allow big box retailers to avoid paying their fair share of property taxes. ACT NOW! Ask lawmakers to CLOSE the Dark Store Loopholes and STOP allowing the shift of the property tax burden to residential property owners.

There are currently 2 bills being introduced by the Legislative Council Study Committee on Property Tax Assessment Practices.  One requires commercial property owners to provide information to assessors and if they do not, they give up their right to challenge the assessment.  The other requires other taxing bodies (county, school district, etc.) to share in the municipality's legal costs in defending these lawsuits.  

While it is a step in the right direction, neither bill closes the loophole, and the committee decided to not introduce legislation to close the loophole because the citizen members of the committee were equally representative of business groups opposing closing the loophole and municipal representatives who support closing the loophole.  

Fact:  Dark store loopholes allow big box retailers to avoid paying their fair share of property taxes.
Fact:  Wisconsin homeowers already pay 68% of property taxes and may pay even more soon!
Fact:  Big box retailers use more municipal services like police and fire.
Fact:  Closing dark store loopholes has broad bipartisan support, but bills need to be allowed a vote.
Fact:  There have been over 200 such lawsuits in Wisconsin.
Fact:  Nearly 60 towns, cities, and villages in Wisconsin have paid REFUNDS to big-box stores.
Fact:  The top 3 retailers with the most lawsuits filed are Menards, Walgreens, and  Walmart.  
Fact:  There are 67 open cases in Wisconsin with a potential lose of $773.7M in taxable property value.
Fact:  Walmart, Bank Mutual, Huntington Bank, Shopko, Menards, and Woodman's are suing to reduce their property taxes in Bellevue, Green Bay, Suamico, De Pere, and  Howard.

Contact your legislators. Ask them to support the bills that are proposed to be introduced and ask for a bill that CLOSES the loophole and STOP allowing the shift of the property tax burden to homeowners!

To send a quick and easy message: https://darkstoreloopholes.org/action/1
To learn more, visit https://darkstoreloopholes.org

Friday, October 12, 2018

Fall Brush Pickup

Fall brush pickup is Monday, October 15 for all areas west of Main Street.  Brush pickup for Main Street and east of Main was October 8.

 Please observe the following rules when placing materials out for collection:
  • Brush up to 3" in diameter is acceptable in lengths no greater than 12'.
  • Brush up to 6" in diameter is acceptable in lengths no greater than 8'.
  • Brush greater than 6" in diameter cannot be accepted at the curb. Larger brush including stumps up to 12" in diameter at ground level can be taken to the yard waste site.
  • Avoid cutting brush shorter than needed as fewer pieces is less handling for crews.
  • Lay brush in piles at the curb with the branches laying parallel to the street. All branches should be laying in the same direction.
  • Do Not place Leaves or Garden Waste in with the pile of branches
  • Please do not put brush at the curb any sooner than one week prior to the collection day.
  • Brush may not be picked up all in one day but it will be picked up the week of. Brush however must be at the curb prior to the Monday that brush is scheduled to be picked up. Brush not at the curb by the time crews come past will be left or will be billed for us to come back at a later date.
  • Lawn wastes (grass, leaves and garden materials) will not be taken. These materials need to be taken to the yard waste site by yourselves.
  • Clearing of brush on lots for the intent to build or sell the lot will not be picked up.The intent of the pickup is to provide for disposal of brush generated as a result of routine yard maintenance. If excessive amounts of brush are placed at the curb, the brush may be refused or a fee will be charged for the work. Entire trees cut down are the homeowners responsibility to remove and cleanup.
  • The Village currently has no Leaf pickup. Please do not rake your leaves into the curbs. This causes water backups at the storm catch basins, promotes algae growth and is a violation of municipal law.

Village of Bellevue: October 8 and 10 Village Board meeting recap

The board continued the review and modifications of the draft 2019 village budget.  The 1st
budget worksession was held on October 8, covered the general fund (standard village operations) and resulted in modifications to the draft budget including: the elimination of the following proposed new project/programs/purchases: community engagement platform, Microsoft Office 365, digital camera installation, one speed board (proposal was for 2), Josten Park lower bleachers replacement, and playground cable net replacement.  Proposed increases or maintained levels of existing projects and programs that were reduced include:  labor attorney fees (to more closely reflect expected costs), phragmites treatment (reduced to reflect actual program costs which were lower than initially  projected and does not reflect a reduction in the program), Rockin in Josten (reduced contracted fees for bands, not elimination of the program), vehicle operations and maintenance (based upon current available balance), breathalyzer (purchase will be made with 2018 funds instead), and wages (reduced from 2019 proposed increase, not a reduction in wages).  And lastly, the projected revenue from transit was increased to reflect closer to what is anticipated.  On October 10, the board  continued its budget work and reviewed the utilities budget (stormwater, sewer, water), sanitation, and capital projects.  These modifications to the budget will be incorporated into a revised draft budget, which will be available to the public and presented at the November 14 public hearing.   

At its October 10 board meeting, the Bellevue Village Board held 3 public hearings:

1.    Conditional use permit for Victory Tabernacle Church of God at 2088 Allouez Avenue.  The request was approved unanimously and allows for a church at the location.  This may seem  rather odd because the church has been at this location since 1994, however a permit was never granted.  This request brings the existing church into compliance with the Village’s zoning regulations and allows the church to construct a 3,000 square foot addition at the rear of the building. 

2.    The board unanimously approved a 32-unit multi-family development near Verlin Road and Bellevue Street.  At the hearing, neighboring property owners supported the development but requested that storm water issues be addressed in the design of the development.  The development is required to meet all state and village development standards that include lighting, landscaping, parking, stormwater management, etc.  The development will also be required to include a sidewalk connection to the public sidewalk.

3.    The board also unanimously approved the preliminary subdivision plat for Willow Glen, a mixed- use development consisting of 155 single-family residential lots and 6 commercial lots on 65+ acres at the northeast corner of Huron Road and Willow Road. The homes would range in size from 1,561-2,647 square feet and the average sale price of the homes is expected to be about $340K.  The planned community is comparable to The Preserve in Green Bay:  https://www.epconcommunities.com/wi/green-bay/the-preserve/

In-Person Absentee Voting Begins October 15, 2018

In-person absentee voting begins on Monday, October 15th, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  at the Village Office (2828 Allouez Avenue).  The deadline for voting an absentee ballot at the Village Office is 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the election, November 2, 2018.  Please remember your Photo ID.

You may make application for an absentee ballot in person, by mail, by fax, by email or at MyVote.wi.gov.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

New GIS Applications Available on the Village Website

The Village of Bellevue’s Community Development Department is pleased to offer a new interactive mapping application on its website for existing and potential residents, businesses, and customers.

This useful technology can help you access information about Public Works projects, Community Development/Economic Development questions, park amenities, voting information, addresses, tax parcels, business information, streets, and much more. The web mapping site provides geographic information from various sources including the Village of Bellevue, Brown County, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The goal of Bellevue's public GIS is to provide our residents, developers, and public agencies with easy access to Bellevue specific geographic information via the Internet or mobile device.The following web links are Bellevue’s web browser, mobile, and interactive mapping systems.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Drug Take Back Day: Saturday, October 27

Winter Seasonal Trailer Parking

As of November 1st, winter seasonal uses/trailers may now be parked in the driveway or on an approved hard surface adjacent to the garage subject to the regulations of the Village of Bellevue Zoning Code.  Winter seasonal uses include snowmobile trailers, ATV trailers, or utility trailers.  These items may continued to be parked in these areas until May 1st of 2019.

Residents have until December 1st to park any summer seasonal use in the driveway or on an approved hard surface adjacent to the garage subject  to the regulations of the Village of Bellevue Zoning Code.  Summer seasonal uses include boats, campers, RV's, personal watercraft trailers, etc.  These items may be returned to the driveway on April 1st of 2018.

If you have any questions, please refer to Chapter 500-1920 of the Village Zoning Code or contact the Community Development department.

NFPA: Wood Pellet Stove Safety